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Zac Haynes-Love, a 21-year-old surfer from Western Australia, recently released a video compilation of his surf stunts from the previous year. It doesn’t sound like much – any schmuck with a camera and a drone can film themselves riding some waves. Thing is, this guy took on some of the wildest surf zones in the world. This past winter, he took on the wild waters of Cowaramup Bombora and the monstrous waves of Cyclops. These Australian hotspots are considered serious challenges in the community, and his assaults on them made headlines on surfing websites.
Haynes-Love and Corbett at Nazaré
More recently, in February, he and his partner Mick Corbett tackled Nazaré. That’s not something that any surfer approaches lightly. This Portuguese beach has seen the largest waves known to man, and some of the nastiest. One 70-footer nearly drowned Maya Gabeira, who’s won awards for her skill in the sport. Haynes-Love and Corbett knew the stories, but they also knew a fearsome swell was coming in. They believed they might see a fabled hundred-footer. If there was even a chance that they could ride one, they had to go.
The pair later recounted to The Western Australian that they found what they sought, and it was a rough experience. Haynes-Love managed to ride a few gigantic waves, but one broke only a few feet ahead of him. “I swam down and it just caught me … I rumbled and tumbled for a long time and when I pulled my safety vest, the next wave came over me.”
Corbett searched the water on a jetski, ready to pluck out his friend when he emerged. However, he couldn’t see him – Haynes-Love was still under, fighting for life. “I’d never been underwater that long. All I could think was, ‘Don’t pass out. If you pass out here you could die.’” Thankfully, with what he felt were only “a few seconds” of oxygen left, he finally reached the surface. Corbett pulled his friend back to shore. He told The Western Australian, “It was super stressful. We stopped surfing.”
However, Corbett didn’t mean forever. Despite this terrifying wipeout at Nazaré, these guys aren’t finished with the sea. The title of Hayne-Love’s video, which showcases some of his wildest feats, promises this is “Just the Beginning.”
Want a lighter surf story? Check out my previous surfing article, about a New York legend trolling a local reporter!